Visit regularly for up-to-date information on relevant news, firm announcements and additions to our AZ Health Law Blog.
Effective January 1, 2019, Arizona-based small employers will be required to provide continuation of employer-sponsored health plan benefits to qualifying former employees and their covered dependents. Currently, employers who employ at least 20 employees (as calculated by determining the number of employees employed on more than fifty percent of the employer’s typical business days in the previous calendar year) are required to offer continuing group coverage pursuant to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA or “federal COBRA”). Arizona’s new law, referred to as a “mini-COBRA,” will apply to employers with at least one but not more than 20 employees during the preceding calendar year.
Under the law, former employees who elect to continue coverage will receive benefits at the group cost, including the employer’s contribution and administrative fee (capped at five percent of the premium). To be eligible for continued coverage under the new law, employees and their covered dependents must 1) be enrolled in a group medical insurance plan for a minimum of three months, 2) be ineligible for Medicare coverage, and 3) experience a “Qualifying Event” thereafter losing coverage. The law defines a “Qualifying Event” as follows: voluntary or involuntary termination of employment for a reason other than gross misconduct or reduction of hours required to quality for coverage;divorce or separation from the employee; death of the employee; the employee becomes eligible for Medicare coverage; a dependent child ceases to be a dependent child under the insurance plan; a retired former employee and his or her dependents lose coverage within one year before or after the employer files for bankruptcy.
Within 30 days of the occurrence of a Qualifying Event, mandated employers must provide written notification to an employee of his or her right to continue coverage(though the law considers a written notice timely if it is postmarked within 44 days of the Qualifying Event and mailed to the employee’s last known address).In the event that a covered dependent resides at a different address than the employee, the employer must deliver a separate written notice to the dependent. The written notice must inform the employee and his or her dependents of their right to continue coverage, the amount of the full cost of coverage (including the employer’s administrative fee), the process and deadlines for electing continuation of coverage, the dates and times for making payments, and the consequence for failure to pay in a timely manner (i.e., loss of coverage). For those employees and/or dependents receiving mini-COBRA coverage, employers are also required to provide at least 30 days advance notice of any changes to coverage (e.g., rates, plan, benefits,etc.).
To continue coverage, employees must provide written notification to the employer within 60 days of the date of the employer’s notice. After electing coverage, employees have 45 days to submit the initial premium to the employer. Mini-COBRA coverage terminates upon the earliest of the following events: 18 months following the commencement of coverage; the employee’s failure to timely pay premiums; the date on which the employee or a covered dependent becomes eligible for coverage under Medicare, Medicaid, or any other health benefit plan (with respect only to that person); the date on which an employer terminates coverage under the health benefit plan for all employees (the employee and covered dependents are eligible to participate in a replacement plan); or the date a dependent child would otherwise lose coverage under the terms of the health benefit plan due to age (with respect only to that dependent child). In the event that a covered dependent is deemed disabled at the time of the Qualifying Event, the dependent may be eligible for extended coverage.
Mini-COBRA Broken Down
Continued Coverage: Employees and their covered dependents receive continued employer-sponsored health plan benefits at the group cost.
Mandated Employers: Employers with at least one but no more than 20 employees during the preceding calendar year.
Eligible Employees: Employees must be covered under a group medical insurance plan for a minimum of three months; ineligible for Medicare coverage; experience a Qualifying Event.
Notification Requirements: Employer’s notice required within 30 days of the Qualifying Event. Separate notice required if a covered dependent resides at a different address.
Employer’s Administrative Fee: Capped at five percent.
Election of Coverage: Employees have 60 days from the date of employer’s notice to submit written notice of their desire to continue coverage. Initial premium is due within 45 days of electing coverage.
How Long Does Coverage Last: Generally 18 months, though coverage time may vary under certain circumstances.
Employers who would like more information about Arizona’s mini-COBRA law are encouraged to contact the attorneys at Milligan Lawless for assistance.
Steven T. Lawrence recently had the opportunity to discuss the current state of the M&A climate with Jordan Geotas and George Odden of CP Capital Advisory Services.
In an article entitled “Failure in an M&A Transaction for the Physician Owner,” Milligan Lawless partner Steve Lawrence provides tips on how to avoid pitfalls during the M&A Transaction Process.
To read the full article Click Here.
We are pleased to announce the arrival of Attorney Robert J. Itri as our newest shareholder. Bob is an experienced attorney whose practice areas include Litigation and Intellectual Property. Bob represents clients in matters before the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Arizona Corporation Commission. He also brings a high level of experience in business matters to the firm, representing both start-up and existing businesses in complex litigation matters encompassing intellectual property and securities, arbitration and enforcement actions, contract, trade secret, business tort and shareholder litigation.
Milligan Lawless, P.C. and The Northern Trust Company
“Avoiding Snares and Traps in 2016 Mergers and Acquisitions”
March 9, 2016
7:30 AM Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM Presentation
The Northern Trust Company
2398 East Camelback Road, Suite 1100
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
The issues facing companies on both the sell side and the buy side in the Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) market today are varied and changing. A misstep along the way can cause an otherwise successful venture to be quickly derailed. Steven T. Lawrence from Milligan Lawless, P.C. and Curtiss C. Smith and Patty Park from Northern Trust will share important perspectives on the key issues in today’s market. The seminar will be followed by a time for networking with panelists and attendees.
Cost to Attend: Free
RSVP to Mary Reimann at Milligan Lawless:
Steven T. Lawrence is a business lawyer. Steve is a shareholder in Milligan Lawless, and focuses his practice on commercial transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, finance and intellectual property licensing. Steve has substantial experience in matters ranging from complex commercial transactions to securities offerings. Steve is listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Corporate Law and Chambers USA for Corporate/M&A Law. Steve holds a Master of Laws (LL.M.) from Loyola University Chicago, a J.D. With Distinction from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, a M.B.A. from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and a B.S. in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento.
Curtiss C. Smith is Senior Vice President in the Banking Practice at Northern Trust. In addition to credit and portfolio management responsibilities for the market, he is also charged with growing the bank’s lending business in Phoenix. Curt joined Northern Trust in 2015 and has more than 20 years of experience in various commercial banking roles in Arizona and California including commercial and industrial lending, commercial real estate, asset-based lending, private banking, and credit risk management. Curt holds a BS in accounting from Santa Clara University and an MBA from Arizona State University.
Patty Park is a Vice President at Northern Trust. Patty provides comprehensive planning services and administrative advice to high net worth individuals encompassing areas such as cash flow analysis, risk management, income tax and transfer tax planning, retirement planning, education funding, estate planning, and charitable giving. Before joining Northern Trust, Patty was Director of Financial Planning at Keats, Connelly & Associates, a comprehensive financial planning firm specializing in assisting Canadians who were moving to the US. She began her career as an auditor with Deloitte & Touche in Cleveland and Phoenix. Patty earned a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and a master’s degree in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona.